The Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change together with Wasteserv, have just launched the nationwide kerbside collection of separated organic waste. Yes, we’re referring to the white bags in the little green bins being distributed throughout the island. The intention of this project is to divert organic waste from landfill, since this waste has value, if recovered. But the question we really need to ask is what is actually happening after the organic waste is collected?
What organic waste goes in the white organic bag?
Organic waste is any material that is biodegradable and comes from either a plant or an animal. So basically, any form of food leftovers, any raw or cooked food, tea bags, egg shells, bones, fruit and vegetable peels, cereals and grains, napkins soiled with food and very small garden waste like flowers and leaves.
This organic waste can be processed in such a way that it results in to production of renewable electrical energy, heat and as a compost digestate as a bi-product.
Where does the organic waste go?
Organic waste is to be placed in bio-compostable or bio-degradable bags. Organic waste collection days are harmonised across all Malta and Gozo, meaning that organic waste in these bags are collected every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in all localities across the island to avoid any confusion. After you place your white bag outside your door on the correct day, this is then collected and taken to the Sant Antnin Waste Treatment Plant in Marsaskala.
P.S. Make sure you only use bio-degradable bags with your organic waste. If the white bag has not yet been delivered to your house, you can buy bio-degradable bags from the grocery store.
What happens to it then?
Once it arrives at Sant Antnin, the organic waste undergoes a process called ‘anaerobic digestion’. The waste is broken down and produces methane, that can be used as biogas. When burnt, biogas is a good source of renewable energy, as it can be used to generate electricity and heat energy.
The bi-product left over from the whole process is turned into compost digestate
This can eventually be used for land rehabilitation and landscaping purposes as a soil improver. For this to happen, waste needs to be separated properly and must not contain any contaminants, like plastic or hazardous waste. That is why it is so important to make sure you are only filling the organic bin with the appropriate waste listed above.
So why is it so important to use these organic bins?
Malta’s Għallis Landfill Site is estimated to reach its maximum capacity in less than two years, which means that each one of us will be affected when this happens. The organic waste project gives us the possibility to divert waste away from landfill and transform it into something useful. Our tiny island doesn’t have enough space for the amount of waste that is being generated. Let’s do our part, be responsible and become in charge of the waste that we are generating.
First we should try and generate less food waste, then that which cannot be avoided should be separated in our homes.
So if you’ve been wondering whether organic waste and its proper disposal was actually important, there you have it.
Malta is currently try to move towards a more efficient – and cleaner – environment, and this is one substantial step forward. Now, it is up to you to jump on the bandwagon and separate your organic waste. Remember to use your white bag and take them out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.